Mallard and Parliamentary Services cleared of Bridges leaked

A lack of evidence connecting Trevor Mallard or Parliamentary Services to the leak of Simon Bridges’ expenses makes more of a mountain out of what looks increasingly like a mole in the National Party.

RNZ:  Bridges’ expenses inquiry narrows down possible leakers

Mr Mallard initially called a Parliamentary inquiry into the leak but that was overtaken by political events.

His inquiry ended in August after RNZ revealed the person claiming to be both the leaker and a National MP contacted Mr Bridges and Mr Mallard pleading for it to be stopped for the sake of their mental health.

Subsequently, a National Party inquiry was launched – the findings are expected in the next week.

Mr Mallard arranged a forensic investigation of emails and relevant databases connected to his office and those staff involved in the preparation of the expenses – about 20 staff in total.

KPMG, who carried it out, has concluded there is no evidence that Mr Mallard or any Parliamentary Service finance staff were responsible for the leak.

“On the basis of this independent review there is no evidence that staff in the office of the Speaker, Mr Speaker or Parliamentary Service finance and corporate staff released details of this quarterly expense disclosure report to any unauthorised parties,” the report said.

This doesn’t surprise me – why on earth would Mallard or anyone in Parliamentary Services leak expenses information that was due to be officially released a few days later? It defies logic.

With those possibilities ruled out that leaves National MPs and their staff or someone in the National Party.

Mr Bridges has repeatedly insisted none of his MPs were responsible but now that Mr Mallard has all but cleared his own name, his office staff and the Parliamentary Service staff involved in the preparation of the expenses, the finger of blame is pointing to the National Party.

The National Party’s own investigation is being led by PWC and Simpson Grierson.

It will consider both the original leak to Newshub and the subsequent text sent by someone citing mental health issues.

PWC will conduct the forensic work and lawyers at Simpson Grierson will be responsible for filtering what information is and is not passed onto Mr Bridges and his deputy, Paula Bennett.

So this bizarre issue will keep festering away for Bridges for a while yet.

If the leaker is discovered and revealed to be a National MP that will be tricky for Bridges to deal with.

If Bridges decides not to reveal the outcome of the inquiry it will be tricky for Bridges.

It’s hard to see a good outcome for Bridges. He may have created a mountain of a mess from a mole in his party.

Leave a comment

40 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  October 11, 2018

    But Bridges wants to be PM and that’s a job tricky to deal with. Let him show himself capable by dealing effectively with this. It’s an opportunity.

    Reply
    • So far a capability of “dealing effectively” is not apparent. Closer to the opposite.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  October 11, 2018

        They probably should have put Melissa on the job straight away. She soon got to the bottom of Curran’s dodgy meanderings.

        Reply
  2. robertguyton

     /  October 11, 2018

    Muttonbird reckons…
    “Well, the National Party leak of the decade continues to be news. Here’s Tova O’Brien basically reporting on herself as is the way in the new media where once journalists are themselves now an active part of the news cycle.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/10/exclusive-speaker-quietly-ordered-inquiry-into-simon-bridges-expenses-leak.html

    My prediction is Simon Bridges’ enquiries will deliver nothing. PwC and Simpson Grierson will, upon instruction from the National Party president, find no evidence of anyone being responsible for the leak.

    Jami-Lee Ross is the leaker, there is simply no doubt about that at all. But the Nats will have strategised that the barrier to scrutiny created by the mental health references both by the leaker himself, and by Bridges and co. since, will be enough to prevent National from sustaining serious damage by offering the public no resolution.

    I think the electorate at large should and will regard the National Party as very very untrustworthy after this flat out lying to the media, and their use of mental health as a distraction from their internal turmoil.”

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  October 11, 2018

      ‘we have identified the leaker.
      The leaker is associated with the National Party.
      I will not tolerate this type of behaviour under my leadership.
      Rest assurred the culprit has been dealt with and now we can move on.That is all I will be saying about this matter ‘-right hon.S.Bridges.

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  October 11, 2018

        If Bridges “finds” the leaking Nat MP, the question must be, why didn’t that person own up straight away? What sort of person would give his own party, the public, the Speaker et al, the run around for so long? Is this typical of National Party MPs?, New Zealanders will ask. This whole debacle is very damaging for National, no matter how it falls. Bridges and co – untrustworthy and unreliable, that’s what people will think/are thinking, imo.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  October 11, 2018

          So, just thinking about this, Mallard said he’d called off the enquiry – but he hadn’t?

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  October 11, 2018

            My prediction is Simon Bridges’ enquiries will deliver nothing. PwC and Simpson Grierson will, upon instruction from the National Party president, find no evidence of anyone being responsible for the leak.

            And, on your thinking, upon instruction from Mallard, this enquiry found no evidence of a leak by him, his office, or anyone in Parliamentary Services?

            Reply
          • High Flying Duck

             /  October 11, 2018

            Not only did he say he’d called off the enquiry, he said it was to protect the mental health and wellbeing of the leaker.
            I wonder what changed from being so supportive of mental health to getting another enquiry off the ground? Very odd behaviour from Mallard.

            Reply
        • Blazer

           /  October 11, 2018

          ‘associated with the National Party’.

          Reply
  3. Ray

     /  October 11, 2018

    How’s the investigation into the leak of the Meta Whetiri assault coming along?
    You know the one demanded by the PM.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  October 11, 2018

      Meta lost her job…didn’t you know that Ray…lucky she didn’t have mental health issues…isn’t it! Bol.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  October 11, 2018

      1. Are you talking about this person?
      2. Have you got School C?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  October 11, 2018

        direct your sarcasm to Ray…I was replying to…him.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  October 11, 2018

          I have. That’s why I posted the pic of Meka.

          I’m quite curious about this poor Meta person you describe though, who lost her job?

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  October 11, 2018

            Ray-‘How’s the investigation into the leak of the Meta Whetiri assault coming along?’

            one of your bi polar days I see.

            Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  October 11, 2018

      Pete says: “Mallard and Parliamentary Services cleared of Bridges leaked”
      “Whattabout” Ray says, ‘How’s the investigation into the leak of the Meta Whetiri assault coming along?’

      Reply
      • artcroft

         /  October 11, 2018

        Well then if that’s the case and Jamie-Lee is the culprit, it’s all dealt with, and effectively at that. Simon even got to call him embarrassing on the way out. Well done Simon.

        Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  October 11, 2018

          Yeah, ‘cept for the untruths coming from both Bridges and Ross, if in fact he dunnit.

          Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  October 11, 2018

    Obvious question number one: how come the police knew the answer immediately and no-one else did? Who is lying?

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  October 11, 2018

      The information was going to be publicly released anyway in a couple of days. There is nothing in the information that discloses anything untoward or illegal about Simon’s travel expenses. There was no attempt at a cover up. There was nothing in the public interest to be gained from early disclosure of the details. So why did Tova O’Brien do this? All very dodgy.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  October 11, 2018

        The single plane ride that cost the taxpayer $100,000 because Jacinda A didn’t want to leave the baby for two days was roughly the same as SB’s entire travel costs.

        Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  October 11, 2018

          But she’s not calling an enquiry into her own spending, like Soimon is…!!!

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  October 11, 2018

            Nor is Simon Bridges. He knows how much he spent and so do we. and he has never expected the taxpayers of NZ to spend $100,000 on what was really a taxi ride so that he wouldn’t have to leave his new baby for 2 days.

            Reply
            • robertguyton

               /  October 11, 2018

              Instead, he’s blown goodness knows how much on tracking a leaker…from his own party!!!
              Oisom!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  October 12, 2018

              How do you know where the leak came from?

              What about the other enquiries, not done by National, that clear Cullen et al?

              I would see a difference between an enquiry to see how then classified information has been revealed and a frivolous $100,000 taxi ride at taxpayers’ expense.

  5. robertguyton

     /  October 11, 2018

    Kevin@TS reckons:
    “I think that Bridges is under the misconception that his little stunt with electing the speaker made him look strong and decisive. I think that was his high water mark and its been downhill ever since, only he doesn’t see it.”

    Reply
  6. Chuck Bird

     /  October 11, 2018

    I cannot see how they can be sure who was or was not the leaker unless the media or the police tell. Well over a hundred people would have had access to Bridges expenses. Someone could have taken a photo of a paper copy or of a computer screen.

    Reply
    • robertguyton

       /  October 11, 2018

      The police, by not revealing whodunnit, are costing the tax payer a great dal of money, and the National Party the next election 🙂

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  October 11, 2018

        How do the police know anyway? Or were they fibbing?

        Certainly I don’t see why the taxpayer should have to pay twice.

        I don’t see any impact on the next election though.

        Reply
      • Corky

         /  October 11, 2018

        I wish my Indian restaurant served money with my order. They just offer free water and a Roti.

        Reply
  7. Trevors_elbow

     /  October 11, 2018

    Ahhhhhh. How cute. Their is no electronic fingerprint pointing at Trev……so A Nat dunning…

    Yip. Open and shut case.

    Who in National would talk to a Tova?

    What else was happening when the story was beat up by Tova?

    Labour… devious devils

    Reply
  8. Trevors_elbow

     /  October 11, 2018

    Ahhhhhh. How cute. Their is no electronic fingerprint pointing at Trev……so A Nat dunning…

    Yip. Open and shut case.

    Who in National would talk to a Tova?

    What else was happening when the story was beat up by Tova?

    Labour… devious devils

    Reply
  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  October 11, 2018

    If KPMG also finds “no evidence” it was leaked by a Nat MP or staffer where does that leave it?

    Reply

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